KARACHI: The suspended work to refloat the beached cargo ship, M.V. Heng Tong 77, resumed on Sunday.

The preparations to pull the ship that got stuck at Seaview on July 21 are being restarted and a barge has again been brought close to the ship.

“It is now positioned at 800 metres from the vessel. The entire day activity included pulling the wire cables from the barge to the ship,” the anti-pollution officer of Karachi Port Trust’s Marine Pollution Control Department, Salis Younsi, informed Dawn.

The team had never given up on the ship as it went back to the drawing board following a failed attempt two weeks ago. They set up several camps around the ship on the beach and came up with a fresh plan.

According to Captain Asim Iqbal, the shipping agent is also involved in the operation; they are now waiting for high tide to try pulling out the ship again. “The actual refloatation operation is expected to start on Monday at high tide,” said Captain Iqbal.

It was on Eidul Azha that M.V. Heng Tong had drifted to shallow waters and ultimately the beach after losing both its anchors while waiting outside the Karachi harbour as it was expecting a crew change en-route to Istanbul, Turkey.

There have been several attempts to pull the ship back into the sea but to no avail so far. The refloatation team hired by the ship’s owners, working with a barge and two tug boats along with several experts, almost succeeded in taking it out on August 24 but the operation failed. The cable pulling out the relatively small 98 metres long and 20 metres wide ship broke unfortunately after the ship had moved over 400 metres towards the deep side. That was when it again found itself in troubled waters as the strong high tide, which was helping it to move towards the sea, threw it back to a new part of the same beach.

Published in Dawn, September 6th, 2021

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